What motivates workers to work harder? What can management do to create a contented and productive workforce? Discussion of these questions would be incomplete without reference to the Hawthorne experiments, one of the most famous pieces of research ever conducted in the social and behavioral sciences. Drawing on the original records of the experiments and the personal papers of the researchers, Richard Gillespie has reconstructed the intellectual and political dynamics of the experiments as they evolved from the tentative experimentation to seemingly authoritative publications. Manufacturing Knowledge raises fundamental questions about the nature of scientific knowledge, and about the assumptions and evidence that underlay debates on worker productivity.
"By systematically deconstructing the Hawthorne experiments--from their inception to their effects on industrial relations and the social sciences--Richard Gillespie successfully shows the complex processes at work in the production and consumption of knowledge. His work is both smart and persuasive and offers little comfort to those who subscribe to the notion of value-free science, for he contends that it is impossible to 'separate facts and values when manufacturing knowledge'." Historian "Richard Gillespie's thoughtful and thoroughly researched history of the Hawthorne experiments and their legacy utilizes insights from the sociology of knowledge to challenge the notion fostered by Mayo and his colleagues that the experiments and the lessons drawn from them were the logical product of a purely objective scientific methodology...Gillespie presents an extremely effective case study of the way in which scientific knowledge is manufactured, not discovered...the richness of his historical account of the ideological and institutional setting in which the human relations school developed contributes significantly to our understanding of the evolution of the American system of industrial relations." Larry G. Gerber, The Journal of American History "An original, broad, and often quite engaging study of the history of the Hawthorne experiments, Richard Gillespie's Manufacturing Knowledge ought to be taken seriously by historians of labor, business and the social sciences alike." Ronald Schatz, Wesleyan University "Richard Gillespie has written a masterly account of how scientific language is produced. It will surely become the definitive history of the Hawthorne experiments." Science "Gillespie's account of the Hawthorne experiments is highly informative and delightfully written...Readers will gain a solid understanding of the Hawthorne studies, the ensuing heated controversies among the researchers in finalizing conclusions, and social scientists' continuing debate over the 'correct' interpretation." Choice "This is a scholarly, detailed historical analysis of the famous 1924-1933 Hawthorne experiments and the literature of criticism and commentary that followed the initial accounts...Since the findings of the Hawthorne experiments continue to influence personnel management, this work will be of interest to those concerned with worker motivation and productivity. Highly recommended for academic libraries, particularly those with graduate collections." Library Journal "...an excellent book...probably presents the most balanced, most objective portrayal of the historic Hawthorne experiments ever written...there may be more books and articles written about the Hawthorne experiments in the future. However, this reviewer, at least, feels that this book will be hard to top." Wayne K. Kirchner, Personnel Psychology "...an indispensable guide to the Hawthorne studies and a fascinating contribution to the history of mid-century social science research and academic professionalism." Journal of Economic History "This very brief review cannot do justice to this excellent and compelling book, which will stand as a model of its genre." Ronald Schultz, History "One of the many virtues of Richard Gillespie's careful examination of both the experiments and the experimenters is that it reveals how many interpretations of the evidence there have been." H. M. Gitelman, Business History Review